The United Kingdom was scheduled to renationalize management of its nuclear weapons production complex Thursday after almost 30 years of letting industry hold the reins.
The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) was to become a wholly-owned arms-length body controlled by the U.K. Ministry of Defence, taking over from the Jacobs-led AWE Management Ltd. team made up of Jacobs Engineering [J], Lockheed Martin [LMT], and Britain’s Serco Group.
The new management entity, AWE PLC, announced its board of directors on June 18. AWE PLC CEO and Managing Director Alison Atkinson is a member of the board, which former oil and gas executive John Manzoni chairs. Gary Butler, who served on the board of the outgoing prime both before and after retiring from the company in 2019, will remain on the new AWE PLC board.
The Jacobs-led prime had mostly finished a 25-year contract the British government awarded in 1999. The government announced its decision to take over the AWE late last year.
The British nuclear arsenal includes only submarine-launched ballistic missiles, essentially the same Trident missiles used by U.S. submarines, carried by Vanguard-class boats and tipped with an anglicized version of the U.S.-designed W76 called Holbrook.
The U.K. fleet is in the middle of an upgrade that will include new Dreadnought-class submarines and a new warhead: a variant of the W93 weapon that is in the early stages of development at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. W93 will be a new warhead made from a previously tested nuclear-explosive package. It will use a Mk. 7 aeroshell being developed by the U.S. Navy.